Nov 5, 2015

New Music

Download the new live record for free right here! 

So, I recoded this live album well over a year ago. It was some time back in 2014. I got some friends together and threw an album release party for my album “Flesh and Bones.” I had big dreams for this live record. I was so excited to release it. I had spent a lot of time practicing the songs, figuring out how to record the show with the equipment I had, and figuring out what I wanted to say between songs. Over all I was so stoked with how the night turned out. A bunch of friends came out to Frisco CrossFit and hung out while I shared my music with them. I was happy with my performance. It was a bit awkward because I am use to leading the church in song on Sunday mornings. So, playing a “concert” was a bit awkward, but I had a lot of fun doing it.

I quickly started the mixing process at my home studio. I spent a good bit of time listening to the entire show. Listening to yourself sing and play and speak is not the most fun thing you can do with your time. There were many times where I found my self blushing even though no one was around! So, the editing process began. There were a few songs that I decided to cut. They were good in the moment, but not good enough to float around on the inter-webs forever. Then it came to editing the speaking parts… torture, I’ll leave it at that. After a few weeks of mixing and editing I thought I was done. All I had to do was upload it and it would be released for the world to hear.

But, I never did. I started to get in my own head too much. I started to over think everything and then I quickly started to doubt myself. Where my performances good enough? Did I sing in tune? Would any one actually want to listen to this? My own doubts, anxieties and fears got the best of me. Then a year plus went by and the record was still sitting on my hard drive.

So, the other day I opened up the files and listened to it. And you know what, I still shook my head at times as I was blushing, but what I heard coming our of my speakers wasn’t too bad! I actually liked it for what it was. A night of music in my CrossFit gym with my good friends.

So, I got my balls back and did a few more edits (took out the speaking parts) and uploaded that sucker onto the inter-webs. So, here it is. Is it perfect? No. Is it good? I think so. Will you like it? I hope so.

If anything, learn from my mistakes. Don’t let yourself talk yourself out of doing things you are passionate about. Things will never be as perfect as you want them to be. You will never be as good as you want to be. But just do it. Keep moving. Keep creating. Keep growing. Keep sharing the gifts God has given you with the world. Thanks for reading friends!

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Oct 11, 2013

We Have a Secret...

No, we are not pregnant. I have shared this before. My beautiful caring, eccentric, kind wife suffers from depression. Not, like, “O, man I am sad today and I am all emo,” but like 6 weeks periods of, “Holy crap, I can’t think, move or do anything because I am paralyzed by this huge cloud that is hanging over my head. Nobody cares about me, not even God. Everyone thinks I am a freak, and I am jus a burden to humanity and God.”

A few months ago she decided to try to come off of her meds that she has been taking since I have known her. She did it slowly and safely. She was a trooper fighting through the withdrawals. About a week and a half ago she got completely off of her meds. Lets just say life has been a living hell for both of us. She was a mess. She knew it wasn’t a logical mess. She knew in her head how she should be dealing with the depression, but she couldn’t make her self not depressed.

Last night I was encouraging her to go back on her meds. She said this, “I should be strong enough to fight this.” Those words broke my heart. My wife may be one of the strongest willed people I know. But I know that she cannot fight this. This is how she was born. This is her genetic make up. Her brain simply does not create the chemicals my brain creates to keep my emotions in check.

I do not suffer from depression. But the person I love most is ruled by it. We both love Jesus and have prayed that he would heal her from this. But we also both know that he may very well not and that his answer to our prayers may be the gift of modern medicine. Does the medicine have some crappy side effects? Yeah. But does it help her lead a “happy, normal” life. Most of the time.

So, why am I writing this post? There are a few reasons. First, it is not to make you feel sorry for us. Tanya and I both want to share our story in hopes of helping others. As we have started to ask for more help from our friends we are finding that Tanya is not alone at all! So many people deal with this or some other mental illness. But sadly, many people try to hide it because they don’t want to be labeled as a freak or weak.

And the saddest part is that so many of these people are followers of Jesus. My hope and desire is that God can use us, and people like us to call the church to wake up to those who are suffering from mental illness. The church has not done much on this issue… that I am aware of.

We have had to many A-hole Christians tell us we need to pray harder, or that she hasn’t dealt with a deeper “heart issue.”  What I want to tell them is, “Well, you have glasses on. Why didn’t you pray about that or examine your heart first you asshole.” But I am a good church worker so I smile and curse them with the seven plagues under my breath as I walk away (I’m kind of joking).

So, what how is God using us? I don’t know. I have no clue really. All I do know is that Tanya and I are done pretending that this doesn’t have a huge effect on our lives and the people around us. We are done pretending that life is always awesome. The reality is that our life has to be taken day by day. Today was better than yesterday but way worse then the day before. The victories are measured by hours without tears.

This is what we are asking for. First, please pray for us. Pray that Jesus continues to sustain us through this hell of a season. Pray that Jesus is glorified through this. Pray that we can help others as we figure this thing out. Please pray that Jesus protects our hearts and minds from lies from Satan. Pray that Tanya hears the truth of the Gospel even while she is lost in the “dark sea” as she puts it.

Second, we ask that you try and understand and love the people in your lives who deal with depression or other mental illnesses. YOU CAN’T FIX IT. And they don’t need you to! Believe me, Lord knows I have tried. But the reality is they simply need to know that you love them and accept them for who they are. Depression and all.

Lastly, if you or a loved one deals with this speak up. We would love to hear your story. We would love to hear how God is working in the midst of your storm.

We were not designed to be alone. We are learning that the hard way. We need each other. Often God answers our prayers through the humans he created. He has proven that to us over and over. Be an answered prayer of tangible grace to someone. That can be as simple as a phone call, a text message, a hug or a listening ear. 

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Jul 15, 2013

Reckless

I just spent 12 days biking through the mountains of Pennsylvania with 20 plus crazy teenagers. We biked from church to church and each night we put on a concert for the community. Through, music, puppets, and personal stories we shared the Gospel to a few hundred people. I pray we changed lives, I pray that we encouraged people to trust and love Jesus with everything they have. I pray that everyone we met heard that Jesus loves them deeply, freely and immensely. 

Our last song of the concert was called “Reckless” by Jeremy Camp. I admit, I am not a huge fan of Christian pop rock. When I first heard the song I thought, “Eww, this song is LAME!” But after singing it for 12 nights it started to take hold of my heart and all of the hearts of the kids I was with. They turned that vanilla pop rock tune into a passionate life changing prayer. The chorus goes:

I wanna be reckless
Cause you are endless
I wanna be shameless
And shout your greatness
I will not be afraid
To surrender my way
And follow who you are
I wanna be reckless

On a page those are nice words that you may find inspiring. But when those words are lived out the world begins to change and look a little bit more like heaven. And that is what started to happen in the lives of these kids.

There was one teenager on our tour who realized she need to make some drastic reckless changes in her life to follow Jesus. She realized that the road she was on was leading her no where. So, what did she do? She got home last night and quit her job, told her parents and everyone in her life that she is moving to Ohio to move in with a Christian mentor and start following Jesus with everything she has.

Is she scared sh**less? You bet ya! Does she have a clue about what is going to happen in a week from now let alone 6 months from now? No way! But does she believe Jesus promises to take care of her when she recklessly follows him?  With out a doubt!

We had another guy decide we was being called to do the same thing, to walk away from everything he was comfortable with and recklessly follow Jesus. He called his boss to let her know he was not coming back and had to quit because Jesus is leading him somewhere else. Do you know what his boss said? “I knew God had bigger plans for you. Follow Him and you still have a job here if need be." 

It’s not always as huge as that. We have kids who realized that the way they use their words at home do nothing but tear other kids down, so they are going to hold each other accountable to using their words to build up and love people for the sake of Jesus.

We had kids admitting that they are addicted to porn and decided to get Godly mentors to walk them through recovery. These are people from the ages of 15-20 people! These kids have been wrecked by Jesus. 

These kids have inspired me because they have heard the voice of God through his Word and have made the choice to responded to it. I hear His voice all the time and actively chose to blow Him off because I care more about my comforts, wants, and desires and because I am lazy.

Where is Jesus asking you to recklessly follow Him? Have you ever even asked Him that questions? If not, try asking Him right now, and see what He says.

I triple dog dare you.

Please, share what you feel him prompting you to do for His glory.

 

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Jun 2, 2013

Where I have Been The Last Week

Hello Friends,

So, some of you know that I have been in the hospital for the last 8 days. I was admitted last Monday evening because I have rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdo what?! Here is a link to explain it. Basically it is where you muscles break down at the cellular level and get into your blood stream and that is not good.  Last Saturday I did an intense work out that included a 1mile run 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats and another 1 mile run. Long story short my body let me know that it did not appreciate what I had put it through. Saturday afternoon I was sore, which I am use to with CrossFit. Sunday I was really sore and my arms were tightening up. I thought I that was normal since I did 100 pull-ups. Monday I could not straighten my arms and was in the worst pain of my life.

I was already familiar with rhabdo and knew the symptoms. I finally decided to go to the ER because rhabdo can shut down your kidneys. Thank God my kidneys are perfectly fine. The reason I have been in the hospital is to get my CPK level down to normal. Normal levels are around 100. Mine peaked at 67,000. Yes, six seven zero zero zero. Needless to say I was/am very sick. I have been hooked up to a saline drip since Monday night. I am getting about 200-275ml per hour. The swelling in my arms is going down. I no longer look like Popeye. I was thinking of getting an anchor tattoo on my forearm if it didn’t go down. Maybe I still will to remind me to not over do it:) My abdomen is nice and swollen due to all the fluids I am on. Tanya laughs when I take my shirt off. She says I jiggle. I can almost straighten my arms all the way. And I am peeing about 20-30 oz an hour. The good news is that my CPK levels have been constantly dropping every day. Once I hit 5,000 i can go home and then start a slow long road to full recovery.

I just want to get this out there. I do not blame CrossFit or my coaches for this. I have been doing CrossFit for nearly two years and have seen great gains in my overall health and fitness. I had been educated about rhabdo from my coaches and at my CrossFit cert. class. I knew it was a risk and I chose to continue with the program. Just like any activity that gives results means there will be risks associated with it. I know my body and the movements I was doing that day. They were nothing new to me. That day I hit the red line and now I am paying for it. It was not my coaches fault or the programs fault. There were other dudes that did the same work out at the same intensity that are less fit than me and did not get sick like I did. I am not trying to defend CrossFit (maybe I am). But the truth is that I will return to it but very slowly and with great patience. I have seen the program change lives, including mine. The community alone is a blessing. I have had tons of people from my gym visit me in the hospital, say they are praying for me and cheering me on. It comes down to that I over did it and it is on me. If you do CrossFit or any intense exercise LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! I didn’t and now I have to pay for it. AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!!!!!

Now that I got that out there I have also learned some spiritual stuff from this. CrossFit was becoming an idol. As much as I love the sport and the people, I was making a good thing into a God thing. I was worshiping the created rather than the creator. Romans 1:25.

Tanya called me out on it like a good wife should. While I was on my hospital bed she said she has noticed that I have been watching and listening to more CrossFit stuff than sermons and Bible stuff. I hate that she is right. It was really hard to swallow that truth. I don’t want to admit it but CrossFit was taking over in an unhealthy way. Anything we do and are passionate about can easily become our God.

Sports, money, relationships, food, religious activities. They are all gifts from God, but once they become our god, the one true God will quickly remove them from us because he is a jealous God and wants all of our adoration and affection. And He deserves it. He gave me a body that can do amazing things. But was I using it for His glory or simply to get stronger and faster? I am still wrestling through that.

I also realized that my other gifts were taking a back seat. I have not been putting as much time and energy into my music. He convicted me last night that I need to focus on my music in this season. I think he is using this to tech me patience, to reevaluate my priorities and to surrender my life to Him.

I want to be a well rounded person. I want to enjoy all parts of life. Really, that is what CrossFit is about. It is about being healthy and fit so that you can enjoy all aspects of life. I let it go to far and now I am going to take this lesson and move on with the grace of Jesus moving me on. I appreciate the prayers and words of encouragement. 

Also, I would like to thank God for Netflix. With out it I would have gone insane. I have watched 27 episodes of Prison Break. 

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Feb 13, 2013

Bye, Bye Social Media (for a season)

Today is Ash Wednesday. For those of you who are not from a church background today marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is a season where the church takes the 40 days leading up to Easter to reflect on our brokenness and need for hope , a hope I believe is found only in Jesus.

Traditionally people give stuff up for Lent. You may have friends that are giving up alcohol, or chocolate.  I have done things like this in the past. Normally, it was for some physical improvement, like losing weight or trying to be healthier “in the name of Jesus.” This is not a bad thing., but I believe this season can be much deeper.

As of the past few years I have heard of people “giving up” social media during this season. My first response was, “that is stupid.” But then I gave it a little more thought and realized that the thought of turning off Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for over a month scared the hell out of me. At that point I realized that I am way to dependent on social media. It is the last thing I check before I go to bed and the first thing I look at when I get up. If I have one second of down time I grab my phone and see “what I have missed.” It has consumed me.

Social media is my idol and I need to kill it. I look to it for gratification and validation. Did anyone retweet me? Did, anyone like my FB status? Did I miss an important link to a cool article? It has also given me a false view of myself. I am not as important as I think and the words I tweet are not as important or as weighty as I think they are. My opinion doesn’t mean jack.  All of these things aren’t wrong in themselves, but for me I found that they have consumed my thoughts and heart more than Jesus. And that is wrong. Social media can be a great tool. But it can also, just like any good thing, become a God thing. And I confess it has become a God thing in my life. 

So, why write this blog to announce that I will be going offline? If I am honest it is probably deep down it is out of some people pleasing, attention seeking  agenda. Part of it is that a lot of my job is connecting with people and a lot of people do it via social media. So, if you need to get in touch with between now and Easter, please email me at Anthony.celia529atgmaildotcom.

I often encourage people that while they take away something during Lent, to fill that time up with something that is going to grow them in their relationship with Jesus. So, I am excited to see how I can use this time to reconnect and dream with Jesus. I am excited to see how Jesus can show me how to truly be a human.

I am sure that social media will still be here in 40 days.  

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Mar 28, 2012

The Orange Effect

You need to click on this link and go download this batch of songs now! The Orange Effect are a band that is made up of mostly my old roommates. I lived with most of the guys at one point in history. I have seen them in their underwear or even worse many times. That is off the subject…

I knew they recorded a new EP and expected it to be good, but when I heard it last week I was blown away. The songs are extremely well crafted, the playing is soulful and well executed and the production is very tasteful and honest. These are some of my best friends in the world so I guess I am required to say I like it, but I REALLY do like it. Please go download the EP. They are asking for $3 but you should give them more. They are all poor like me:) Support independent artists! Thanks!

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Mar 16, 2012

60 Day Paleo Challenge

For those of you asking about the “60 Day Paleo Challenge” here is what it is about. My friends from my  CrossFit Box are doing this together to get ready for the summer and just be healthier. Paleo is not a diet but more of a life style. I already eat this way about 80 percent of the time, but I am going to commit to it for 60 days. Here are some websites that explain Paleo and have some recipies.

altmed.creighton.edu/Paleodiet/Foodlist.html
marksdailyapple.com
everydaypaleo.com

Here is the document we have going for our “team.”

After some discussion today at 0815 we have come up with some new guidelines, so please disregard my first message!

-       $150 Buy-in ($50 automatically goes to the winner and you personally have a chance to win your other $100 back) I will explain further down.

Ways we are being measured for the grand prize:

-       Photo (pre/post)

-       Helen (pre/post % improvement)

We will be doing Helen as our gym workout on Tuesday, March 20th:

3 RFT

400 m run

21 KB swings

12 Pull-ups
Way you will be measured for your personal goal in which you can win your $100 back (therefore you are only out $50)

-       Weight

-       % Body Fat

-       After those two are measured by Cory or Kahle they will come up with our individual goal of how much weight we should lose and how much % body fat

The reason for the buy-in increase is because Kahle mentioned that if its only $50 and you happen to cheat on your diet one weekend you are more opt to say “I give up” rather than if its $150 you are more likely to stick with it and succeed!

The challenge starts on Monday, March 19th and will end on May 17thso if you are going to join us in this fun challenge please bring me your money by the end of next week. (Cash preferred, I will bring extra envelopes). Also we will be taking our pre-photo pictures on Monday (19th) or Tuesday (20th) so please bring the following:

-       Ladies: Swim suit (bikini) or sports bra and shorts that you can pull up and see your thighs

-       Men: You are easy… Shorts!

If you don’t go to our gym but are interested in this let me know. I bet we could make something work. 


 


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Mar 2, 2012

Bartenders in Austin

 
A few weeks ago my self and Mark headed down to Austin to interview some possible missionary interns at Concordia University. We had meetings set up early Tuesday morning, so we decided to bite the bullet, get down there on Monday night and hang out on the world famous “Live Music Capitol of the World”, Sixth Street. Tough life I know. The weather was beautiful. I felt like I was back in California, minus the beach and add some southern charm (I don’t know if southern charm really exists in Austin, anyway…).

We found a little rooftop bar right around sunset. We were out a little early for the usual Austin crowd so the bar was empty. Mark and I ordered some beers and got a nice relaxing spot on the rooftop. We were talking mission and dreaming about how God is leading us in the future as a missionary training hub.

Then our bar tender decided to come sit with us since we were the only customers in the entire joint.  She was very friendly and very talkative. She just grabbed a chair and started talking our ears off. We will call her Miami. Her and her husband had moved to Austin from Miami (hence her name for this blog) about a year ago. She was telling us about the differences between Miami and Austin, the biggest being the beaches. We both reminisced about the ocean and sandy beaches. I asked her why she liked bar tending; she had been doing it for over ten years. She said she loved meeting new people, like us, and she loved getting people drunk!

As we talked with Miami, it was very clear that she was not interested in Jesus or any kind of church, or religion for that matter. She was a very sweet and loving girl, but Jesus was not a part of her life. As we listened to her stories more she finally paused and asked what Mark and I did for a living…

This is where it always gets interesting… when someone just got done telling you about their crazy party stories and then ask what you do. We both smiled and looked at each other then her and smiled some more. We sheepishly said ,“ We are missionaries, I mean pastors, I mean, missionaries in America, ummm.” Then I said, “I play music in our church.” Mark then said we were in Austin to interview some students to be American Missionaries for Jesus. She smiled then laughed and said, “You aren’t kidding are you?” I wish you could have seen her face, and our faces for that matter. She thought that was cool then asked us a very interesting question. She said, “Why do you believe what you believe about God and Jesus.”

What?! God, could not have thrown up a bigger soft ball. Then I though, “Crap, what do I say?” When most people hear what I do they smile and then carry on with a new subject. She didn’t. She didn’t even ask about what I do for the church or why I do it. 

She asked WHY I believe in Jesus.

We had two paths we could have taken. I could have busted out my Bible app and explained to her why I am sinful, and why she is sinful, and why she deserves to die and burn in Hell and then explained the doctrine of substitutionary atonement to her.  My other option was to tell her why I, me Anthony a real person, believes in Jesus. She didn’t ask me to prove to her why Jesus is the way. She asked me to tell her why I believe what I do. Honestly, giving her some verses and theology would have been way easier. That didn’t require me to be vulnerable with her and let her into my life.

But, thanks to the Holy Spirit I was able to share my simple, un-amazing story with her. I was able to share how I hated Jesus for sixteen years, and then through the course of people simply loving me because Jesus loved them, I couldn’t help but believe he was who he said he was.  She smiled and said “that is really cool.” She was actually listening. Then she went and got us some more beers. 

We swung by the bar later that night and said hi. I would like to tell you we baptized her and now she is spending all her time in a church with other cool Christians in Austin. We didn’t. All we did was share our story with someone who asked about Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

I think in the west we have gotten this totally wrong. We have taught our people to go out and find people who don’t believe what we do and to respectfully tell them why what they believe is wrong and then, in love, give them the correct answer. 

Miami asked me to share with her why I had hope in Jesus. She didn’t ask me to convince her to believe what I believed. She asked me to invite her into my life story and be vulnerable with her. She didn’t say those words, but I feel in my gut that is what the question meant. I don’t know why God set that little encounter up. If anything I hope she walked away from that encounter having a little more faith that not all Christians are annoying and some do tip well. Hopefully she walked away knowing that two guys actually enjoyed talking with her and hearing about her life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love theology and I believe correct doctrine is very, very important. But it is not were we need to start when we engage with people who do not follow Jesus. They could care less about our theology and the Bible. They are more interested with our story, what brought us to trust Jesus. They can’t argue against our life experiences. Just like we can’t argue with theirs. 

At Water’s Edge we have kicked off new “Missionary Formation Groups.” As these groups begin to meet we stress the importance of each person’s story. This does two things. One, it makes people sit down and think about where God has brought them over the years. It helps us remember God’s grace in our lives. Two, it makes us really wrestle with why we believe what we believe. Especially those who have been raised in the church their entire lives. By developing our stories we are being faithful to 1 Peter 3:15.

So in short, there is power in your story. Everyone has one. Some have more highs and lows than others, but your story is unique to you and no one can take that away from you.

Do we need to know our Bibles? Yes. Is it important to know and understand the basic doctrines of our faith? Yes. But is that what will spread the Gospel to your neighbors and the bar tenders in Austin, or your co-workers? Probably not. I believe God will use you and your story first. 

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Nov 29, 2011

Once For All EP

Well Friends, today is the day! My new EP, “Once For All” is out for your listening pleasure. The best part is that is free! That is right you can go download it for free at www.noisetrade.com/anthonycelia. This EP is only available in digital format. Sorry for those of you who still like to hold a physical object in your hands. You can burn a CD and stare at it all day long, then lose it or scratch it.

First, I want to thank everyone who contributed their time and talent to this project.

Thanks to Matt Boswell. Matt is the Worship Pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, Tx and is a staff writer for Word Music. Matt co-wrote the title track, “Once for All,” with me well over a year ago. I first met Matt at a song writing conference in Missouri a few years ago. I was blown away by his song writing, but even more by his love for Jesus. I brought the melody and changes to him with some pretty awful lyrics. Matt brought his hymn style writing to the melody and blew me away with what he brought to the table. We spent a few hours working on it then wrestled over weather it needed a bridge or not. After several attempts we left it as is. This is my favorite text out of any song I have released to date. Thanks Matt for contributing to this project! I can’t wait to hear your version.

Thanks to Aubrey McGowan. Aubrey is the Worship Pastor at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, TX. Aubrey co-wrote “Let Your Kingdom Come” with me. I brought him the basic layout of the song and he took the chorus and bridge to a new level. He also sang all of the harmonies on this track. He has some pipes!  I am thankful for his love for the local church and dedication to the craft of song writing. Thanks brother! Let’s get some Randy Whites soon!

Thanks to Mark Hampton. Mark and I met on Craigslist a few years ago. That is another story for another day. Mark played mandolin on the acoustic version of “Once for All.” He is one heck of a player! He is also moving to India in a few weeks for six months to serve as a missionary there. He is six feet tall with bright red hair and a huge red beard. He will blend in with no problem. Keep him in your prayers. Love you dude!

Thanks to Emily Roller. Emily sings and plays keys with me at church. She sang on my last record and makes everything sound way better. Her harmony part on the acoustic version of “Once for All” is killer. I think she heard it once then laid down the part in two takes. Great job Emily. Tanya and I love you, Shawn, and Judah.

Thanks to John Slaten. Slaten is a dear friend of mine with an amazing ability to grow a beard and play guitar, all at the same time. John and I met a few years back at coffee shop and the rest is history. He added some guitar parts on “Let Your Kingdom Come.” He is also playing guitar on my next EP and even wrote one of the songs on it. He is also the guitar player for the praise band at Water’s Edge of Allen. Bruiser says “Hi, Uncle John.”

Last but not least, thanks to Chase Jacobs. He is my best friend and a dang good graphic artist and an all around Godly man. He made the sweet cover art. Love you brother. Can’t wait for your wedding!

The funny thing is that this EP was not planned. I was actually writing for a new and different EP (which is being recorded right now). These songs were songs that didn’t make it on my last full length, or did not fit on the other EP.  I started making some demos then realized I had a good little EP on my hands. It was fun to collaborate with everyone on this project. My last full length was totally solo. I did everything by myself. It was a breath of fresh air to have other people speak into it.

The other huge difference on this project is that I tracked, mixed, and mastered the entire thing in my home studio. I was originally going to have other people do it, but due to a lack of money (making a record is expensive!) and time (everyone was already booked through the new year) I was forced to do it myself. I am very happy with how it turned out. I discovered a new love and that is mixing. I hope to grow in this skill and start mixing other people’s music as well.

Also, since I mixed and mastered it I don’t owe anyone any money so that is why I am able to give it away for free. So, your welcome haha!

No, actually thank you for all of your love and support. May these songs point you to Jesus. Know that you are loved and redeemed by the King. Jesus is greater than all of our sin. Amen. Merry Christmas. 

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Oct 24, 2011

What The Church Can Learn From Crossfit

If you have had any conversation with me in the past two months you know I am obsessed with Crossfit. I joined my gym about two months ago and haven’t looked back.

This morning we had a hell of a work out. It was one of those that everyone was just about to hit their breaking point mentally and physically. It consisted of 80 pull ups, 150 push ups, 240 squats, and 1,200 meters of rowing. That was after a good 20 minutes of squatting 115 pounds. But as I was leaving a saw a beautiful picture of what the church should look like.

There was one lady who was finishing her work out. She was the last one to finish. She is no slacker by any means. She has whooped my butt many times in previous workouts. But today she was struggling to finish. Then, two of the other ladies that had already finished several minutes before her got on the row machines next to her and finished the last 300 meters with her. They were both physically and mentally shot from their work out, but they saw their friend was not done and needed encouragement. They died to their selves, got next to her and cheered her on, not just cheered her on, but did the work with her! (I was laying down praying I wouldn’t throw up)

Why did they do that?

Because they saw their friend struggling and knew that she needed the support. They had been through the pain and survived and knew that she could finish as well. I believe the other reason they got back on the machines with their friend was because she had done the very same thing for them before. Actually she had done it for me just a few weeks ago. 

I am blown away by the support and community I see in my gym. You want to see Galatians 2:6 being lived out everyday come to my gym. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t have people cheering me on when I want to quit and throw up.

There are guys and gals there who’s warm up weight is my max. There are ladies who just had a baby. There are guys there who haven’t been in a gym since high school, or ever. Our community is so diverse. But we all have a common goal, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that every one hits that goal. It isn’t always fun having a big sweaty guy screaming at me to do one more squat or one more lap, but when I am done I am thankful that he pushed me. They see the potential in me and draw it out of me. Why? Because some one drew it out of them.

The church can learn from this. The church needs to learn from this. Are we living life together in a way that is drawing the God given potential out of each other? Or, are we simply saying “I will pray for you” when life sucks and then walking away. How about we pray for them AND then roll up our sleeves and get in the trenches of life with them, even if we are tired and worn out?

Since I have been there any new person I have seen come in is back the next day, and the next, and the next. Why? Because they are attracted to it, they are drawn into it. They realize they need it.  Anyone can do most of our workouts at home in their garage. But we all know that with out each other we won’t get it done. The community is what makes Crossfit so special, not the crazy work out.

It is the community that makes the church beautiful and attractive. That community is found in Jesus. It is not about the polished Sunday experience or shiny plastic smiles that people are longing for. They are longing to be accepted and then stretched.

I could go to 24 hour Fitness and have nicer facilities; it even would save me a good chunk of change each month. But I wouldn’t experience transformation. It is in community that I experience transformation.

It is in the church that we encounter Jesus and are transformed more into his image. So, lets be the church. By the grace of Jesus may our communities be attractive and transforming. 

Here is a link to my gym. http://friscocrossfit.com/

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Oct 11, 2011

Forge Residency. One Month Down. A Life Time to Go.

I am about one month into my Forge residency. I came into this experience completely open to whatever God wanted to do through it. I really had no agenda or expected goals. God had lined up the right people at the right time for me to dive into the residency and see what would happen.

After my first month I feel God stirring in me and teaching me how to be a missionary in a sustainable way. I am a task-oriented person. I like lists of things I can check off. When I have enough checks on my list I can sleep well at night. This goes completely against what a calling of a missionary is. A missionary is called to love people. The second your list becomes a list of names you have missed the point of what it is to love people.

The first few weeks I was fired up. I was meeting my neighbors, talking to people when I was out shopping or getting lunch. I had my “missionary goggles” on 24/7.  I quickly realized that I was exhausted. I thought, “God, how is this sustainable? I can’t keep going like this. I am an introvert! Why can’t I stay in my home studio and write songs for your church?!”  Songs fit on my list. I can check off a song. I know when I am done with a song. Relationships are never done.

I have preached to my church for two years that the people in our lives who are far from God cannot become projects. They are people with souls. People that Jesus loves. I quickly forgot what I had been preaching for the past two years. The second I decided to be “really missional” I lost sight of people as humans with a soul and saw them as an opportunity to make myself feel better. Make myself feel better?  WHAT?!

My missional motivation quickly became my object of worship. If I connected with enough unbelievers through out the week I felt like I was better than other Christians and God loved me more. If I didn’t connect with anyone I felt worthless and that God was disappointed with me. I am ashamed to say that, but it was true! I was quickly becoming a Pharisee.

God, in his mercy, has shown me this dark part of my heart and led me to repentance. I don’t have it figured out yet, not even close. All I know is that I don’t want to be “missional.” I want to follow Jesus and be used by him to spread his good news. I pray that God starts to show me how to develop natural rhythms that allow me to always have my “missionary goggles” on 24/7 in a way that is genuine and pleasing to Him. 

In our cluster gathering this past weekend someone said Jesus wasn’t missional or intentional rather, he was led by the Holy Spirit. So stinkin’ simple when said. Harder to do.  I pray that I can be led more and more by the Holy Spirit. I know that it will be hard and a sacrifice, but I pray I can do it out of joy, not out of me trying to earn God’s grace. Please continue to pray for all of us as we let God continue to mold us and shape us more and more into his image. 

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Jun 29, 2011

Who Are Your Band Mates?

I am sitting in my office/ home studio sipping on some red wine and listening to the new Derek Webb and Sandra McCraken EP while, in the next room, my beautiful bride hammers metal into jewelry (I love my life). While I sit here I am reflecting on the great day of music creating I had with some awesome dudes, musicians, and friends.

We loaded all of our gear into church at 10 am and then hashed out some great arrangements of some new songs I have been working on. The goal of these songs is to record them for a new EP. We hope to start recording by the end of July. 

I am very excited for these new songs, but I am almost more excited about the process of bringing them to life than getting them to you. My last record, As You Are, was a total solo project. I wrote, played, and recorded everything on it. It was my baby that I could control. I did have trusted people speak truth into the creative process, but at the end of the day it was just me and my Pro Tools rig, so I got what I wanted when it came to parts and arrangements. What Anthony wanted, Anthony got. I am very proud of that record. It was a year of hard work and it is now a resource for the Church to use in cooperate worship. I listen back at it and have no idea where all that came from. Thanks Holy Spirit.

This new project is totally different. I have three other talented musicians and friends breathing truth and creativity into the songs. I now have to “fight” for my ideas. It’s no longer centered around my brain and ideas. I have come to the band with the basic songs, but now they get to add their ideas. It is freaking awesome and sucks all at the same time. I am kind of a control freak so letting other people change what I have created is hard.

Today we worked on a song called “Awake.” It was originally a very peaceful, ambient, artsy song. After an hour of hashing it out with the guys it is now a grooving heavy hitter. I loved it before the band got a hold of it! Now I really love it!

All of us come from different musical backgrounds and have different ideas for each song. I am excited to see where the other songs end up. It is painful for me, but I know it will be well worth it in the end. I hope we can get to the comfort and respect level with each other to look at each other and say, “Dude, I love you, but that idea is terrible, I know you can do better.”

Most importantly this project is teaching me bout life and faith. I realized I go at life and my faith alone most of the time. I am learning that the more people I surround my self to sharpen me the more effective I am for Jesus’ mission.

I’ll leave you with this so I can go get another glass of wine. Who are your band mates? 

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Jun 20, 2011

The Greatest "Evangelism Tool"

The greatest “evangelism tool” Jesus has given you is a bath. Seriously, go read John 13. I just read it while sitting in Starbucks (I know… how Christian/pastor like of me) and I was blown away. In John 13 Jesus washes his disciples feet and then tells them to go do the same for each other. Anyone who has ever been on a youth mission trip or church camp or been on any trip with Pastor Mark Schaefer you have heard this story and then awkwardly washed each other’s feet. It is a beautiful example of how we are to serve each other. But, this morning, once again, God showed me how his Word really is living. I have read this passage hundreds of times and this morning I saw it in a completely new light.

                

Jesus makes it clear to Peter that if Jesus does not wash him Peter will not belong to Jesus. Once Peter realizes this he says, “Wash all of me!” The foot washing symbolizes the necessary washing for the forgiveness of our sins. This is one powerful bath.  A Jewish man in Jesus’ time understood the idea of washing. They had to wash for every thing so they would be clean and not defile himself or God. So, when Jesus says that they are clean because he has washed them it meant a lot more to them than it might mean to us in America today.

Now that last paragraph isn’t what rocked me. It is later in chapter 13 starting in verse 13. Jesus says “I washed your feet, now go wash each other’s feet.” Simple right. By the shedding of Jesus’ blood we are now clean and holy before our perfect and holy God. And Jesus says go wash each other’s feet, go share this bath with other people.

God has saved us through his Son so that we can go share it with the world. Jesus didn’t wash the disciples’ feet and then tell them to hang out and talk about how clean they are. No! He said get your butts out there and do the same for other people.

I have been taught that this passage is an example of how to serve each other, which I know it is. But today I am convicted that the greatest way I can serve someone is to actually tell them what Jesus has done for my eternity.  I have known this in my head and have been teaching this for years, but it really hit me in my heart this morning. It was a great reminder.

So, the next time some one asks me about my faith or why I am a Christian, I can simply say, “Because Jesus gave me a really awesome bath.” I am sure they will look at me in a confused even awkward way. That is ok

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Mar 21, 2011

Passover Me

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Mar 21, 2011

New Song: Passover Me

This has never happened. This song was written, recorded (demo version) and posted all within two hours. This morning I got up, watched a WWII documentary, went running (while rocking Kelly Clarkson), took a shower, sat down to read my Bible and out came this song while I was reading Psalm 5. It was one of those honest times of prayer with God. He convicted me of a specific sin in my life and I began to feel guilty. I prayed for forgiveness and the that the Holy Spirit would to continue to give the strength I need to repent. Then I realized that the guilt was not from God but the Devil. Then the phrases “passover me” and “you judge me by the blood” came into my head and heart and I felt at peace again. I grabbed my guitar and journal and starting writing stuff down and within 15 minutes the song was done.

I do not know if it is done, but I felt led to share it with you guys. I know my experience was not a special occurrence. We all sin, God convicts us of that sin, and so often the Devil tries to make us feel guilt that is not righteous guilt from the LORD. I pray that if you are in that spot, trust that the LORD’s wrath and guilt has passed over you onto his son Jesu. You are now free, we are now free, I am now free from guilt because of the work and person of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory.

Passover Me
Words and music by Anthony Celia

Your blood is on my doorpost
And you know what’s inside
But you judge me by the blood
Yes, you judge me by the blood

My sin is still before me
I’m sinful from my birth
But you judge me by the blood
Yes, you judge me by the blood

Passover me
Yes, you passover me
“Cause now you see
The blood of my king
Covering me 

Your wrath is just and good
For I have done you wrong
But you judge me by the blood
Yes, you judge me by the blood

My debt requires payment
But I’m poorer than the poor
But you judge me by the blood
Yes, you judge me by the blood 

P.S. For those of you who care I recorded this song in in my home studio in one take with 2 mics and minimal EQ and compression. I used my "new” 1970 Alvarez. 

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Feb 28, 2011

Your Love

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Feb 28, 2011

"Your Love" (Deity Adultery)

Attention: If you are my grandmother or someone’s grandmother I apologize in advance for the bluntness of the following post. (It’s Biblical)

In the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel the word “whore” or “whoring” is used 10 times. Don’t jude me, it’s in the Bible. And the word “whore” is not being used to describe prostitutes who work the street. Whore is being used to describe God’s chosen people! God’s prophet is using the idea of a whore to describe you and me! (Again, don’t judge me, it’s in the Bible!) If I am honest with my self the chapter is a brutally honest description of my life. This passage is the heart of my song “Your Love.”

One of the greatest analogies God uses through out the Scriptures to describe his relationship with his people is the covenant of marriage. Sadly, the analogy is normally dealing with God’s faithfulness to this covenant and our lustful adultery.

The first verse of my song is “I am unfaithful with wondering eyes, I’m always searching for lovers less wild, I’ve tasted your love on my tongue and my lips, still I’m seduced with less beautiful scents.

The chapter in Ezekiel is beautifully honest and terribly painful. God dressed his bride up in the most beautiful and magnificent gowns and jewels known to man, he gave her the desires of her heart. And what does she do? She goes and prostitutes her self to worldly idols. Her every need and desire was met, yet she chose to give her self up to lust, she invited it from every direction, pure passion. Everything was free game.

We are no different. God has blessed us beyond belief, yet we are daily whoring ourselves to this world. We always want more, we always are looking for the next quick fix to our lustful passions. 

The chorus of my song says, “Your love is always faithful, your love is always secure, your love is never ending it, never fails, your love is always patient, your love is always kind, your love is never ending, it never fails.

I am a whoring prostitute but God is a faithful groom. Ezekiel sixteen goes on to say that God will remember his covenant with his people and atone for all that we have done. 

This is pure grace. God has the right to leave us on the street beaten and bloody by the sin we lust after, yet he remembers his people and he is faithful to his promise.

He sent Jesus.

While we were whoring ourselves around with other lovers the Father sent his perfect Son to bare our punishment. Christ is the groom and has adorned us (his bride) with his righteousness. The Father no longer looks at us and sees unfaithful lovers. No! He looks at us and sees his perfect and holy son and is well pleased with the work that Chris has accomplished on the cross! 

The bridge of my song says, ”Give me eyes only for you, give me a heart that breaks for you, consume my mind with thoughts of you and your perfect love.“ 

May that be our hearts prayer and desire, that we have eyes for Christ alone. We will be tempted daily to chase other lovers, but I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit that we fight the good fight and look to Christ for our righteousness. All glory be to our faithful Father who has sent his son to live, die, and rise from the grave so that we may be saved. Go and share this love story with the world. 

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Feb 17, 2011

A prayer

I read this prayer at The Station this week and several people asked me to post it. Here it is.

Truth In Jesus
Adopted from “The Valley of Vision”

Life- Giving God

Quicken me to call upon your name, for my mind is ignorant
My thoughts are wondering, my desires are earthly, my heart is unbelieving
And only your Spirit can help my soul’s sickness

I approach you as Father and Friend
You are my helper forever, my exceeding joy
The strength of my heart

I believe you are the God of everything
The creator and sustainer
The sender of Jesus my savior

My guilty fears discourage me from running to you when I am in need
But I praise you for the amazing news that Jesus has made our relationship right again,
That I no longer need to fear you

May the truth that is in Jesus Christ
Out shine all the darkness that is within my heart, mind, body and soul
May your truth wipe out all the doubt I have
Accomplish your good work through me

I pass through a vale of tears
But thank you for opening the gates of glory at the end
Allow me to see that you are better than anything in this world
And prepare me for every hardship I will come across in this life
Guide me with your Word and let no sin control me

Teach me that Christ cannot be the way if my glory is the end goal
That He cannot be Redeemer if I am my own savior
That there can be no union with Christ if I worship created things
Teach me Father that faith accepts Jesus as redeemer and Lord or nothing at all.

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Jan 27, 2011

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Jan 27, 2011

Story Behind the Song: I Adore You

I Adore You was the first song I recorded for the record. I bought my first electric guitar on New Years Day of 2010 off ebay for $300 and when I got it a week later I recorded I Adore You. It sounded pretty good and I discovered I could actually play electric guitar. That is when I decided to do the record on my own. That started the yearlong process of writing, recording, and learning about Pro Tools.

That is the nuts and bolts behind the song, but the lyrics are my favorite part of the song. It is a song that was written out of brokenness and a longing to trust God even in the hard times. As I walk with Jesus I am learning more and more every day that the hard times in my life are the times that push me closer and closer to Jesus. It is easy to say “I Adore You Jesus” when life is great. The prayer of this song is that I can still say “I Adore You Jesus” even when life sucks. God will use those moments for his glory. When we are suffering but still proclaim God’s goodness that is when the world around us will take note. That is when we can make much of Him.

 Make much of him in all you do.

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Jan 26, 2011

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Jan 26, 2011

Behind the song: As You Are

As You Are is the first track and the title track of my new album. I originally wrote this song for a project in college. I was talking a recording class and needed to record something, so I recorded this song for that project and forgot about it for a few years. As You Are was one of the last songs I tracked for the record. I was looking for an opener and I stumbled across the old acoustic demo and my wife said that it had to be on the record and be the first song. She is normally right when it comes to these things.  When I got done recording it I realized that the title of the song summed up the theme of the record, come as you are. In Matthew 11: 28-30 Jesus says:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus invites everyone to come to him as they are. Broken, tired, questioning, doubting, you name it Jesus wants it. This invitation is a life changing one. I chose this to be the first song because these songs are not written for shinny perfect Christians, these songs are written for broken dirty people who are tired of trying to fake their way through life with a cheesy smile and thumbs up attitude all the time.

So, I pray this song draws you to Jesus. I pray the Holy Spirit makes this invitation real to you. It is more than an idea or philosophy, but a reality. The God who made the stars wants you just as you are. As we come to him he is the one who cleans us up by the washing of his blood. Jesus alone can give you rest. 

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Aug 16, 2010

Be The Blessing (Part 2)

 

This is the second half of my previous post, Be the Blessing (Part 1), a thought on 2 Samuel 6: 18-19. The first post was about how, as the church, we are to actually be a blessing to the people around us, not simply only pray with our mouths. “Part 2” comes from the last half of the verses where Scripture reads:

  Then all the people departed, each to his house.

Wow, I know! Powerful verse eh? The people went home after they received a tangible blessing from King David. That means the people of the day knew that they could go to David when they were in need.  Now think about this in terms of our churches.

Are people running to us on Sunday screaming, “Hey you Christians, I need help, my life sucks, and I heard your Jesus can help me.” No! People often stay as far away as they can from our churches and us Christians. In our culture churches and Christians are no longer thought of as people who care for the needy, but rather as close minded people who hate gay people and don’t like Obama.  

So, what do we do? Do we hunker down in our nice expensive buildings and pray that God brings “sinners” to our alters so we can  convert them to our ideology? Nope. We go engage the culture and love people radically and bless them in radical ways, just like Jesus did and trust that the Holy Spirit will change their (and our) hearts.  

In short, people are not coming to us. We must go to them and meet them on their level with the grace and mercy that Jesus has shown us. 

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Aug 4, 2010

Be The Blessing (Part 1)

I have been reading through 1 and 2 Samuel. I struggle with applying the Old Testament to my life a lot of the time. But these two books have been speaking to me in mighty ways. This morning I was reading 2 Samuel 6. In verses 18-19 it says this:

And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.

What I was struck by in these two verses was that David’s blessing to the people of Israel was not just words. His blessing from the LORD was accompanied by a tangible gift. It is very easy for the Church (the Church being my self, us, and anyone who claims to follow Jesus) to pray for those hurting in our lives, or to pray for our city, or whatever.

Rather, how often do we actually take action and be the blessing to the people we are praying for.

I don’t know how many times I have asked the LORD to bless someone in my life who is struggling with something and left it just at that. A few words. I am not saying prayer is not powerful. I am not saying we can be the answer to every one for everything. But where in our lives can we do something for someone that we have been praying for? You may be thinking, “I don’t have anything to offer. I am broke.” That may be true, but if you are reading this on your personal computer with internet that you are paying for, chances are you have a few spare bucks to bless some one in a small tangible way.

Now, I don’t want to focus on only money. Many of us really do not have much cash to throw around, but we all do have a little thing called time. Maybe your time can be the greatest blessing to someone right now. Who is in your sphere of influence who simply needs someone to listen to them? 

So, may we be the Church who is continually in prayer for those around us. May our prayers and blessings be more than words. May we be a tangible blessing to those around us. This is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Anthony

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Jul 23, 2010

Lyric of the Week

In my last post I mentioned that this whole “Lyric of the Week” idea was inspired by one of my favorite song writers, John Mark Mcmillan. So, I figured I would honor one of his lyrics today. It comes from the song “Death In His Grave.”

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with the keys
Of Hell on that day
The man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

These are beautiful, fresh lyrics. He takes the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection that has been sung about for generations and used creative, thoughtful language to give it new life. The church sings of this amazing truth every Sunday. It is crucial that we do, but sense we sing about it every Sunday we can become numb to it. Thanks JMM for giving this truth a new flavor and awakening our souls to be aware of the victory we have in Jesus. 

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Jul 16, 2010

The Lyric of the Week

A musician who I highly respect as an artist and who’s music I cannot get enough of is John Mark McMillan. If you have not heard his music you need to stop reading this and go buy his album called “The Medicine” and thank me later. On his blog he does a once a week post called “The Lyric of the Week”. I like the idea and I am stealing it from him. I chose a lyric from Mumford and Sons. Another amazing band that you need to check out after you check out JMM. It comes from their song “Roll Away Your Stone”.

It seems that all my bridges have burned
But you say ‘That’s exactly how this grace thing works’
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart

I love this lyric. There is a beautiful tension in there. Some of us view God as a God of wrath, a very angry God. He has the right to be angry. His crown of creation has turned its back on him and said, “We don’t need you. We can do this life thing better.”

Very often God lets us go our own way and dig our own grave. He lets us burn our bridges. We deserve to burn with those bridges, yet in his faithfulness he continually welcomes us back with open arms for a new restart. The burning of the bridges and long walk home gives us a chance to think about how we have betrayed our Creator, but it is his welcome home that changes our broken hearts. In life we can burn bridges that have very real and severe consequences here on this earth. But the good news is that we can never burn our bridge to the Father because Jesus has made a way for all who claim his name. To quote John Mark, “The Love of God is stronger than the power of death”. May we all find a restart in our risen Christ.

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Jul 15, 2010

Why?

I already had a blog. So why start a new one? I don’t know. I think tumblr is easier to use than blogspot and word press and looks better and everyone else seems to be doing it. Is that a good reason? Probably not. Call me a follower. I am ok with that.

The problem with my last blog was that I didn’t really have any thing to blog about. Then this morning in the shower I had an idea (most of my ideas that are worth following through on come to me in the shower. I don’t know why, but they do). I thought I could write a blog about tension. Tension seems to be a big theme in my life. I am not flexible at all. I have a lot of tension in my lower back and neck. I have set a goal that I will be able to touch my toes for the first time in with in a month.

But this is not the kind of tension I am talking about. I am talking about the tensions we experience in life. As a Christian the more I experience Jesus and His goodness I see how huge this theme of tension is in my life. Lets start with the idea that as Christians we are both saints and sinners both at the same time. I have nothing good to offer God. I am dirty and filthy, yet made glorious and redeemed by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. If I focus on only being a sinner I will get pretty depressed pretty fast. If I focus on only being redeemed and never remember why I had to be redeemed (because I suck at life when left to my own will) I can become puffed up and self righteous. See what I mean. Tension. I have to continually be reminded of both sides so I can remain sober minded about my self and in aw of who Jesus is. 

I feel like life is a tight rope and by the grace of Jesus I am learning (very, very slowly) how to balance on it. So, in these writings I hope to share how I am navigating the tensions of life. I am not claiming to have any answers. Just thoughts and insights. I hope you can relate and share your thoughts as well. 

I think the biggest tension is the length of each post. If you are still reading this, congratulations, you have read more that 140 characters and that shows that tv, twitter, and the Internet have not rotted your brain. I could write all day, but will try to keep them short and sweet. 

Blessings,

Anthony

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